Healthy Ethnic Foods

Have a taste for the exotic? Here's the good and bad when it comes to eating foreign foods

With so many delicious foreign foods available, make sure you know what you’re putting in your body

If you’re dabbling in foreign fare, make sure to avoid these unhealthy options

Canadians love ethnic cuisine, and while many dishes are extremely healthy, others are not. Here’s how to eat healthy while still enjoying a cultural feast.

Chinese: Avoid sweet-and-sour dishes, which consist of meat that’s breaded, deep-fried and smothered in sugary sauce. Also, stay away from items fried in oil; opt for steamed versions.

Greek: Try chicken, pork or prawn souvlaki (marinated and then grilled cubes of meat on skewers), but avoid dolmades (grapevine leaves stuffed with rice or ground beef) and moussaka (a casserole with a rich sauce). The spinach in spanakopita sounds healthy, but the butter-laden phyllo pastry and feta cheese makes it very rich.

Italian: Select dishes with tomato or lemon sauce as opposed to creamy sauces like alfredo. Minestrone soup is a low-fat, nutritious and delicious option.

Indian: Watch out for ghee, which is clarified butter that’s high in fat. Coconut milk is another ingredient that’s loaded with fat. Healthy dishes include lentils, tandoori chicken or fish, and chicken or beef tikka.

Japanese: Go for sushi, most of which is low in fat and contains lots of fresh ingredients. If you don’t want raw fish, there are many other items with cooked fish or vegetables.

Mexican: Skip the high-fat tortilla chips. Choose corn tortillas, which have fewer calories and less fat. Healthy choices include brown rice and black beans, marinated vegetables, grilled fish tacos, salsa and grilled chicken.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.